Sometimes it is necessary to undertake an endoscopy (“camera test”) of the bowel in order to have a better understanding of the cause of your symptoms, or to help with operative planning. I undertake endoscopic assessment of the lower bowel, and this is can be in the form of one of the following procedures:


This is a complete assessment of the colon and rectum. In order to achieve adequate views of the large bowel if will be necessary to take some powerful laxatives (bowel prep) prior to the procedure. You will be prescribed the necessary medication and given instructions on what to do from the endoscopy department. When you come in for the procedure you will normally be given intravenous pain killers and a sedative to help make the procedure more comfortable for you. You will be unable to drive for 24 hours after having these. At the time of procedure it is possible to take small biopsies or remove polyps for further analysis by a pathologist.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy

This is more limited assessment of the large bowel. It aims to assess the rectum and the lower half of the colon along the left side of the abdomen. It can normally be performed following the administration of an enema upon arrival to the endoscopy department and does not normally require the use of intravenous sedation or pain relief, although this can be administered if requested. If sedation or pain relief is given you will be unable to drive for 24 hours following this. At the time of the procedure it is possible to take small biopsies for further analysis by a pathologist. If polyps are identified you will require a colonoscopy at a later date to ensure there are not any further polyps in the parts of the colon not viewed in this test.


This procedure allows for assessment of the ileal pouch in those patients who have had a pouch anal anastomosis or a continent ileostomy (Kock pouch) fashioned. Those patients with an ileoanal pouch normally require an enema on arrival in the endoscopy department, while those with a continent ileostomy can intubate the pouch and wash it out with water. The procedure can normally be performed without the need for intravenous sedation or pain relief. At the time of the procedure small biopsies are routinely taken for assessment by a pathologist.